The Fund for Women and Girls awards more than $250,000 to local nonprofits


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The Princeton Area Community Foundation’s Fund for Women and Girls has awarded more than $250,000 in grants to local nonprofits this year.

The fund hosted its annual meeting virtually this month, its theme Lifting Each Other Up: A Celebration of Women and Philanthropy. Fund members and guests celebrated the work accomplished by multi-year grantee partners, and announced their 2020 grant awards and learned from two distinguished community leaders about how to address the needs in the community.

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“The Fund for Women and Girls believes we can lift each other up by listening to the voices of those living in poverty, educating ourselves about critical issues in our region, and collaborating with others to address these needs through advocacy and aggressive funding,” Karen Collias, fund co-chair, said in a prepared statement. “We want to celebrate our philanthropy and be a part of the important work going on in our community.”

Eleanor Horne, a member of the fund’s leadership team and trustee emeritus at the Princeton Area Community Foundation, has been a longtime champion of understanding the needs of vulnerable women and children, according to the statement. Marygrace Billek, director of Mercer County Human Services, is an expert on local nonprofit organizations and the impact of COVID-19 on their priorities and day-to-day functions.

Together, Horne and Billek spoke about the work of community nonprofits in addressing problems brought about by increasing food insecurity, housing instability, and poor health outcomes, providing up-to-date information on initiatives focused on preschoolers, school-age children and teens, women in the workforce, and mothers and babies, according to the statement.

“As women and philanthropists, we can learn from Eleanor and Marygrace,” Cathy Schaeder Batterman, fund co-chair, said in the statement. “Through education, collaboration, and investing together, we can reach goals we could not reach as individual donors to provide long-term support and, ultimately, recovery from this pandemic.”

In addition to supporting the Princeton Area Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief and Recovery program earlier in the year, the Fund awarded grants to six local nonprofits during the celebration:

  • CASA of Mercer and Burlington Counties: The grant provides training for CASA volunteers, who are appointed by the Family Court, to advocate for young children ages 0-5 who have been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect.
  • The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey, Trenton: The grant will support the CHS Community Doula Program, which trains bilingual doulas to support dozens of pregnant and postpartum low-income Latina women and their babies.
  • HomeWorks, Trenton: intensive academic enrichment and social emotional programming for Black and Brown female high school students in Trenton. Homeworks supplements these scholars with culturally responsive curricula, providing enrichment akin to a boarding school experience, empowering them to excel academically, while remaining connected to their families and staying grounded in their home community.
  • KinderSmile Foundation, Trenton: The grant will contribute additional funding to support the newly opened Community Oral Health Center with capacity development, community mobilization, reach, and workforce, while providing access to oral health care to at-risk families with income between 100-150% of the Federal Poverty Level, which is $26,200 for a family of four.
  • Puerto Rican Community Center in Trenton runs the only high quality, culturally competent bilingual preschool program in the city. This grant supplements COVID-19 funding, making it possible for the Center to purchase devices, train instructors and help families to obtain WiFi hotspots for the 90 preschoolers participating in the Center’s Creative Curriculum.
  • RISE, Hightstown: This grant will provide operating support to sustain and strengthen programs that have evolved during the pandemic to safely meet the steadily growing need for critical services. Since the pandemic, there has been a 300% increase in Rise Food Pantry usage.

In addition, two other Trenton-based nonprofits, the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF), and Arm In Arm, received installments of the 3-year grants they had been awarded in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

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